Sarah T. Hughes, Only Woman to Ever Have Sworn in a U.S. President

Judges Sarah T. Hughes and T. Whitfield Davidson, ca. 1970. By Andy Hanson

Sarah  T. Hughes (1896 – 1985), American lawyer and federal judge, was a woman of firsts. She moved to Dallas in 1922 with her husband, George E. Hughes whom she had met in law school. George was able to find a job quickly, but no law firm would hire Sarah. Eventually, a small firm gave her rent-free space in exchange for her services as receptionist. As her practice grew and became more successful, Hughes became increasingly active in local women’s organizations. She became involved in politics, first being elected in 1930 to three terms in the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat.

In 1935, she accepted an appointment as a state judge from Governor James Allred for the Fourteenth District Court in Dallas, becoming the state’s first woman district judge. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed her to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. She was the first woman to serve as a federal district judge in Texas. She was the only female judge appointed by Kennedy, and only the third woman ever to serve on the Federal bench.

Hughes was concerned over the ineligibility of women in Texas to serve on juries even though they had the right to vote. She coauthored a proposed amendment that would allow women on juries in Texas, but the bill failed. Due in to part to Hughes’s work, Texas women secured the right to serve on juries in 1954. Hughes was a member of the three-judge panel that first heard the case of Roe v. Wade; the panel’s decision was subsequently affirmed by the Supreme Court.

President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy. By Andy Hanson

On November 22, 1963, she was called upon to administer the oath of office to Lyndon B. Johnson after President Kennedy’s assassination. According to Barefoot Sanders, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas at the time, “LBJ called Irving Goldberg from the plane and asked, ‘Who can swear me in?’ Goldberg called me, and I said, ‘Well, we know a federal judge can.’ Then I got a call from the President’s plane, with the command ‘Find Sarah Hughes.’ I reached her at home and said, ‘They need you to swear in the Vice President at Love Field. Please get out there.’ She said, ‘Is there an oath?’ I said, ‘Yes, but we haven’t found it yet.’ She said, ‘Don’t worry about it; I’ll make one up.’ She was very resourceful, you know. By the time she got to the airplane, someone had already called it into the plane. We quickly realized that it is in the Constitution.” Hughes recalled, “I embraced Mrs. Kennedy and vice president. We didn’t say anything; there really wasn’t anything to say.” Hughes leaned toward Jackie and told her she’d loved her husband. After the oath, Johnson said, “Let’s be airborne,” and the plane got on its way. Hughes was the first and only woman to have sworn in a U.S. President.

Lyndon B. Johnson Hemmed in by Crowd, Dallas, 1960. By Andy Hanson



Hughes continued her work as a federal judge until 1982.

It is also worthwhile noting that there is an SMU connection to Hughes. SMU’s Underwood Law Library has a reading room dedicated to Judge Hughes, the Sarah Tilghman Hughes Reading Room with a plaque in her honor, “In recognition of the outstanding accomplishments of Judge Hughes as an attorney, judge and activist for civil and human rights….”









Anne E. Peterson, Curator of Photographs


Mr. Stanley’s Birthday!!!

Stanley Marcus with Coco Chanel at Neiman Marcus Fashion Exposition Award Presentation, 1957


April 20 – it’s Mr. Stanley’s birthday! Born in Dallas, Stanley Marcus (April 20, 1905 – January 22, 2002) was the eldest son of Neiman Marcus store founder Herbert Marcus. He attended Harvard University where he graduated in 1925. It was during his years in Cambridge that he began his life-long hobby of collecting rare books. At the DeGolyer Library, besides his personal manuscripts and papers, the extensive Marcus book collection is also housed.

Joining the founders, other family members came into the store business. After the Harvard Business School, in 1926, Stanley joined the firm. He was a creative man with new ideas for the retail market. Soon, he conceived the idea of weekly fashion shows, the first in the country, and he introduced bridal shows. Eventually, all four Marcus brothers worked in the store and each made his own unique contributions. To avoid confusion between the many Mr. Marcus’s, staff members started using their first names, calling them Mr. Herbert, Mr. Stanley, Mr. Edward, Mr. Herbert, Jr. and Mr. Lawrence.

Chanel at Neiman Marcus Dallas with Mr. Stanley, 1957.

In 1938, Stanley inaugurated the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion, bringing European and American fashion designers and women of style to Dallas. Called the “Oscars of the Fashion Industry,” among others the Neiman Marcus Fashion Awards were given to: Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Salvatore Ferragamo, Emilio Pucci, Pierre Balmain, Grace Kelly, Cecil Beaton, Estee Lauder, Valentino, Bill Blass, and Oscar de la Renta.

For the 50th anniversary of the store, in 1957, Mr. Stanley had the brilliant idea of bringing international culture to North Texas in the form of the first Fortnight event celebrating France. Almost overnight, the downtown store was transformed complete with a French theme and products throughout, and Fortnight was an instant success. Besides culture, fashion, and fun, the educational aspects of the Fortnights were equally important to Stanley. Fortnight, focusing on different countries around the world, continued to be a much-loved annual event in Dallas into the 1980s.

Stanley Marcus was an intelligent, cultured man with innovative business instincts. He had a wide array of interests, knowledge and world-wide acquaintances and was an important citizen in the changing city of Dallas.

Events SMU Archives Uncategorized

Ask An Archivist

Oct. 4, 2017 is “Ask An Archivist” day.  This yearly Twitter campaign began in 2010 to engage everyday people who want to know about historic collections and the people who work with those collections.


The SMU Archives has formally participated in Twitter’s #Ask An Archivist day for only 2 years, but this day always brings a smile.  For the DeGolyer Library, every day is “Ask An Archivist Day.”

We’ve gotten questions about SMU history (“Why does the sundial in front of Dallas Hall not work correctly?”).  We’ve gotten questions about specific collections (“I want to find my mother’s wedding gown as seen in the 1974 JCPenney catalog” or Are there any copyright restrictions for an image in the Texas Instruments collection that I want to use?”).

We’ve gotten questions from students in library school wanting to know about how to become an archivist.  We’ve given advice to friends and co-workers about how to save their family photographs.

Almost each and every day, someone asks an archivist about the materials in the SMU Archives or the DeGolyer Library.  Yes, we even get questions on Sundays. No matter your question or when you decide to ask us, we archivists are happy to follow up with you.

So if you are on Twitter, tweet us (@SMUArchives) or any of the other archivists on the beautiful SMU campus (@artsarchivist, @BridwellLibrary, @metalarchivist, or @SMUJonesFilm) on Oct. 4—or any other day.  We love to help.



SMU Archives Uncategorized

Losing a friend


On January 6, 2017, a great friend of the Southern Methodist University Archives, Joe Redwine Patterson died. “Joe Red,” for those of you who were lucky enough to know him, was a walking, talking one-man promoter for “SMU school spirit.”

Joe graduated from SMU with a B.A. in Philosophy in 1948, with an M.A. in Government in 1951, and a J.D. in 1954. While at SMU, he served both as Head Cheerleader (1947-48) and Student Body President (1948-49).  Both of these positions were elected positions.  His enthusiasm for SMU athletics and passion for school spirit continued long after Joe graduated.  Most remarkably, Joe met with the SMU Student Senate in 2013 and taught this newest generation about school spirit—and what cheerleading was like in the 1940s.

Joe was an invaluable source of information for this archivist trying to learn about the history and the spirit of SMU.  At first, Joe was just another patron. Later, he became a friend. His donations of both memorabilia and memories for the SMU Archives have given us a special insight to the pivotal post World War II era.  Thank you Joe Redwine Patterson for your dedicated spirit and service to our University.

The cheer squad in 1948. Joe Redwine Patterson is at the bottom of the pyramid on the right. (photo is from the Rotunda)

Did You Know that the Library has a Very Interesting Book?

On Nov. 13, 1918, The Campus, SMU’s student newspaper, reported that the library received Bohemia. This autobiography was written by the Czech immigrant, abolitionist and doctor, Anthony Michael Dignowity. He was born in Bohemia in 1810 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1832. His stories about selling pretzels during Lent and as a snail salesman during boyhood are charming. His descriptions of Austrian military justice are chilling.


The headline of the student newspaper article was “The Libarary [sic] has an interesting book.” This particular book was a part of a very large collection from Methodist minister, publisher, magazine editor and bibliographer E.L. Shettles. At the time, Librarian Dorothy Amann “considers it a most valuable addition to the library.” DeGolyer Library still has this copy of the book, and it is still interesting, still a valuable addition to the collection, and still worth traveling to the Library to read in person.


There are several options of how to read Bohemia under Austrian Despotism: Being an Autobiography. It was reprinted by Books on Demand in 2013 and is available on Amazon for $44.95. It was digitized by the Internet Archives and is available free online. The 1859 edition was recently sold at auction for $245. Thirty other libraries in the U.S. have the 1859 edition including Harvard, Yale, and the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem Pa.


The question remains, why is important to visit the DeGolyer Library and why is it important to read Bohemia or any rare book in person? By visiting the DeGolyer, unplugging from a computer, focusing solely on reading and turning the 158 year old pages, you are transported into another time. You can immerse yourself into the words and read deeply. You feel the paper in your hands. No distractions. Time travel is yours at the DeGolyer Library.

SMU Archives Uncategorized

SMU’s First Official Holiday

Rather than waiting for Thanksgiving to enjoy their first holiday during that first semester in 1915, overjoyed students were treated to a day off on Tuesday, October 19 that year, courtesy of President Robert. S. Hyer. This first official holiday at Southern Methodist University was on “Dallas Day” at the State Fair of Texas. Classes were cancelled at SMU. Extra street cars took students and faculty to the fairgrounds to enjoy the festivities. Many students attended the TCU vs. Austin College football game, located on the grounds, seeing TCU win 28 to 0.  The Dallas Morning News reported that the SMU students were totally impartial in their cheering, but they did gave some SMU yells. Only eight days later near the end of the State Fair, Austin College beat SMU 21-0 at the Fairgrounds.

“Dallas Day” was heavily promoted. Many businesses in downtown Dallas were closed. Highlights that day included a Confederate Veterans parade and the newest technology—an air show by pilot Art Smith who swooped right near the grandstand. SMU students were just a few of the 93,700 visitors to the Fair that day.

For the next three years, SMU celebrated at the Texas State Fair as a holiday. The football team practiced in the morning, so that players could go to the Fair with classmates. So successful was the holiday that The Dallas Morning News reported in 1918 the campus was practically deserted when the day rolled around.




Today students enjoy a fall break, among other days off, and Dallas Day is a memory. Each year interested fairgoers can still attend the same fair their predecessors frequented more than a century ago, and this year they have the opportunity to wander no further than across campus for a flavor of the fair.

The DeGolyer Library is celebrating the 130th anniversary of the State Fair of Texas with an exhibition in the Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall. Highlights include State Fair photographs by Dallas photographer Lynn Lennon, as well as several cases of related ephemera, like fair tokens, badges, pamphlets, brochures, postcards, handkerchiefs and more dating from the 19th into the 20th century, all from various DeGolyer collections.


DeGolyer Library Exhibit, September 8 to December 16, 2016

Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall, Fondren Library Center, SMU

Hours: 8:30 to 5:00, Monday to Friday



Mapping JCPenney stores

One of the best things about working with any archival collection is that you never know how a researcher will interpret the materials that he or she finds.

Brett Lucas, an Economic Geographer and Spokane area city planner, has been working on a project for a couple of years asking for the opening and closing dates of JCPenney stores, first in California, and then across the nation.  It was an odd request for me, but I sent our Word documents that had been compiled from handwritten lists in the late 1980s to Brett.  I told him that our store opening and closing lists were accurate from 1902 to the late 1980s, but after that, the information was, at best, limited.  He said something about “mapping.”  I promptly forgot and went to my next project.

GIS, Map, Mapping Software, Geographic Information System, GIS, Geographic Information Software

Brett sent me this map, and the scales fell from my eyes.  Here anyone can see how JCPenney moved from the rural areas to the urban areas.  Looking at lists, just doesn’t give it the same impact.  Now, my mind is churning.  We have two sets of basic data sheets—one from the early 1960s and one from 1971 that will give Brett historical sales and store foot information.  If I had a student scan all of those, I wonder what he can do with that information?

The website is here, if you want to use the map interactively, go to this spot


Manuscripts Uncategorized

Mr. Penney’s birthday celebrated on September 16

On September 16, 1875, James Cash Penney was born in Hamilton, Missouri. Although his retail career began in Hamilton, he moved to Colorado to find his fortune.  His first store, the Golden Rule, opened in Kemmerer, Wyoming in 1902.  Kemmerer was a small mining town.  He and his wife and infant son lived above the small store. He sold basic goods–men’s overalls for 35 cents and ladies shoes for 49 cents.

Mr. Penney made a success of that store and many more. In 1913, the Golden Rule was re-named to the J.C.Penney Company. In 1916, the company had 127 stores.  In 1925, it had 674 stores, and by 1940 there were 1,586 stores.  Mr. Penney stepped down from day-to-day management in 1917, but he continued to travel to many stores through the 1960s as a good will ambassador.

Memphis and Mr P

In 2004, the DeGolyer Library at Southern Methodist University received Mr. Penney’s personal papers from the J.C. Penney Company.  These materials, including letters, speeches, photographs, and more, have been processed and are ready for researchers to use. When the DeGolyer Library’s remodeling is over, we welcome readers to use these papers.


DeGolyer Library closing June 1 for renovation

DeGolyer Library entrance, 2015DeGolyer Library will be closed to the general public starting June 1, 2015, as part of the renovation in Fondren Library. Over the next 6-12 months, the library will be moving all of its collections, work spaces, offices, and reading room. Staff will attempt to keep up with reference queries and photo orders as best they can during the renovation, but there will be times when some materials will be completely inaccessible or stored off site. Our various digital collections, of course, will remain accessible:

We appreciate everyone’s patience and look forward to serving researchers in renovated facilities in 2016!

For more information about DeGolyer Library and the progress of the renovation itself, bookmark the library’s web page page and the Fondren Renovation blog.